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Forgery in corona test certificates?

Govt worried as Japan halts flights from Dhaka

Mir Mostafizur Rahaman | June 10, 2020 00:00:00

The detection of coronavirus infection among some Bangladeshis, who left the country on special flights to at least two countries---Japan and South Korea--- with corona negative certificates, has triggered serious concern among the government high-ups.

Already, Japan has suspended flights from Dhaka after one such incident.

Foreign Minister Dr A K Abdul Momen told the FE that the government is concerned over the incident.

"But now we have come to know that the certificates had a validity of 72 hours only. May be that aspect was overlooked earlier", he said.

The government has started taking steps to ensure stricter scrutiny of the corona testing certificates, submitted by the passengers while leaving the country availing special flights, the foreign minister also said.

Four Bangladeshis were found corona positive within a couple of days after their arrival in Japan. They left Bangladesh on a special fight of Bangladesh Biman on April 30.

After the incident, Japan suspended flights from Bangladesh, Mohibul Huq, Senior Secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism, told the FE.

Terming the incident highly embarrassing and harmful to the image of the country, he said immediate steps are required to find out whether the passengers concerned carried fake corona negative certificates or they became corona positive in the natural process.

"The aviation authority of Japan issued a notice announcing the restriction on flights from Bangladesh. When we inquired about it, we were told that the detection of coronavirus among four passengers from Bangladesh was the reason," he added.

Some officials said in addition to airlines concerned the health section of the Japan Embassy in Dhaka also scrutinised the certificates.

On May 11 last, a chartered flight of Korean Air took off from Dhaka with some Bangladeshis and Koreans on board.

"We came to know that 11 of the passengers of that flight were found corona positive when they were tested in Korea," the civil aviation secretary said in a frustrated tone.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials said several rounds of discussion took place in this regard among aviation, health and foreign ministries.

The law-enforcers are engaged to find out whether there was any forgery by the personnel working in the corona testing laboratories, a senior official of the foreign ministry said.

When contacted, Deputy Director General of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) Nasima Sultana said there might be other aspects of the situation.There are several instances that a person, who was earlier found corona negative, was later detected as corona positive.

"A test gives result of the condition of a person for that particular moment, when the test is being carried out. The condition may change."

But she did not reject the possibility of forgery also.

The country now has 56 Covid-19 testing laboratories, which are authorised for testing the virus infection, she added.

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